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Monday, May 20, 2024
HomeNewsUK Based Zimbabwe Youth Honored With Prestigious Princess Diana Award

UK Based Zimbabwe Youth Honored With Prestigious Princess Diana Award

United Kingdom based Zimbabwean youth Tanatswa Amanda Chikaura, the founder of Ndinewe, a mental health advocacy organization, was recently honored with the prestigious Princess Diana Award for her role in raising mental health awareness.

The award, established in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, is given out by the charity of the same name and has the support of her sons, HRH The Prince of Wales and The Duke of Sussex.

In an interview with 263Chat, Chikaura expressed her gratitude and humility on receiving the prestigious award.

“I am honestly honored and grateful to have my work recognized on such a high platform. This is the first award of this magnitude I have received in relation to my work with Ndinewe,” said Chikaura.

Chikaura’s journey in mental health advocacy began during her undergraduate years when she witnessed fellow students facing significant mental health challenges.

“When I was doing my undergraduate degree, a lot of students were experiencing mental health challenges. This was evident in the increase in suicide cases, as well as drug and substance abuse. When I looked for assistance at my tertiary institution, it wasn’t easily accessible and it dawned on me that there was a disparity in understanding mental health issues alongside the greater student population, Zimbabwe, and honestly the globe.

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“When I started my advocacy journey in 2018, there weren’t a lot of people that were willing to listen to what I had to say. Till this day, there is so much stigma that surrounds mental health, and I am constantly trying to break the stigma in the spaces I enter,” she said.

Chikaura says the organisation uses a multifaceted approach to identify and target at-risk populations.

“By conducting literature reviews of global and local mental health studies we identify groups that may be at higher risk due to various factors such as gender and socioeconomic status. We collaborate with various stakeholders including universities, high schools, local community organizations, and government – through engagements we gather insights and collaborate on identifying at-risk populations. These organizations often have firsthand knowledge of the communities they serve and can help identify groups that may face specific challenges,” Chikaura said

Despite facing skepticism from others, particularly regarding her chosen career path in psychology, Chikaura learned to prioritize her own growth and live her life authentically, rather than seeking approval from others.

She remains resolute, emphasizing the importance of having a vision, a destination, and a vehicle to drive her efforts.

It is worth noting that Chikaura was also recognized as one of the ten 2022 Junior Chamber International (JCI) Zimbabwe honorees, a program that acknowledges young individuals who excel in their respective fields and create positive change within their spheres of influence.

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